Posted 26.11.19

Toxic leadership in the workplace can have devastating effects on an employee’s wellbeing and mental health. This can result in high absences, low productivity and even employees quitting. 

According to a recent study from The Muse, 89% of bosses believe that the main reason their employees quit is because of money. However, 75% of workers who quit actually lay the blame solely at the door of their boss.  

When bosses display behaviours that contribute to a negative and hostile working environment, employees feel like they have no choice but to walk.

So whether you’re a boss or an employee, these are the warning signs for toxic leadership that you should be avoiding:

Leadership Cliqueishness

Cliquish behaviour from a boss can cause resentment amongst some employees. If a leader surrounds themselves or engages in this type of behaviour, it can make some employees feel like the ‘uncool kids’ from school. Unity, diversity and openness of perspectives within an inner circle, should be a goal that all bosses strive to achieve.


As a boss, if your team don’t trust you, they aren’t going to work hard for you. If you don’t trust your team, then you’re inevitably micromanaging them, which in turn can have a devastating blow to productivity in the workplace. 

Trust is the basis of any productive workplace relationship, so if you or your boss is keen on lots of micromanagement, steer clear!

Not Listening to Feedback

Unwillingness to listen or respond to employee concerns or comments can lead to conflicts and problems later down the line. Leadership is about leading people, and that includes listening to feedback from those at different levels of management and those on the front lines. 

Bosses that emphasise their own ideas at the expense of those who work with them, can cause resentment within a workforce.

Lack of Support

Employees value the opportunity to develop and grow in a role. Work is a place that most seek to learn new skills, stretch their potential and help to become a better version of themselves. A good leader will be there to help support them in this endeavour. If they don’t take the time to develop their employees’ career paths, it’s likely that they will not work to their full potential. 

Likewise, if leaders are not able to recognise the importance of having a support system in place for employee wellbeing and mental health, this can also lead to low productivity and a loss of retention.

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